It’s based in a popular ski region, but Westminster, Mass.-based Wachusett Brewing Co. reached all the way to sun-splashed Bermuda to invest in a canning line.
The brewery acquired its new equipment from a Coca-Cola plant on the island. It is capable of processing 800 12 oz. cans per minute.
That means that, in addition to introducing the brewery’s own offerings in cans, Wachusett may soon become the premier destination for New England breweries looking to can their beer.
Wachusett President and Co-Founder Ned LaFortune said it was the speed and efficiency that attracted him to the acquisition of such a large machine, calling it the “industry standard” for both brewers and CSDs. He said he hoped to begin packaging the brewery’s Green Monstah and Blueberry Ale offerings in the new aluminum package as early April.
LaFortune said the addition of the canning line will help the Wachusett brand grow this year. The company produced approximately 25,000 barrels in 2011.
To help that growth, LaFortune said he is also “actively pursuing” contract partnerships with other New England brewers who package in cans; landing them as clients could give the brewery a big boost in cash flow.
“Our projections are fairly modest for the first year out,” he said. “If it is just us using the line, you are looking at 30,000 -40,000 cases. It could easily go to 100,000 the next year by picking up contracts or expanding our own brand.”
We discuss the venture with LaFortune in the following interview: